Air Astana A321 Business Class In 10 Pictures

After a great flight in Air Astana’s 767 business class, I was curious to see how their regional business class product compared (I had already found out their domestic lounge is quite disappointing). The ~590 mile, 80 minute flight between Almaty and Astana was operated by an A321. It certainly wasn’t quite as new as Air Astana’s gorgeous 767s, but still very nice.

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I was surprised by how premium heavy the configuration was, as the plane had 28 business class seats, spread across seven rows in a 2-2 configuration.

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The seats were roughly similar to what you’d find in domestic first class in the US, with decent legroom and good padding.

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The seats also had footrests, which is a nice touch.

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There were pre-departure beverages, including champagne (they didn’t offer champagne pre-departure on the previous flight, presumably because they didn’t want to pay taxes on it).

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There were printed menus for the flight, which is impressive for a true shorthaul.

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After takeoff drinks and almonds were served.

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Then there was an impressive three course meal, including salad, a very good salmon main course, and then a lemon dessert.

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I had a coffee to finish off the meal.

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The crew on this flight was also really friendly. I wasn’t as impressed with the friendliness of the crew on the previous flight, though this crew was friendlier and extremely attentive.

The cabin ended up being two thirds full. What’s a bit odd is that the day before my flight there were no other seats occupied in business class on the seatmap (the bulkhead seats on the left are always blocked). I’m not sure if business class passengers in Kazakhstan often just don’t select seats, if they just upgrade a lot of people day of, or what.

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There were at least a couple of Hispanic pilots in business class, based on the fact that they had crew tags and flight bags. I only mention that because the captain on my Seoul to Almaty flight was Mexican, so it seems like they have a sizable Spanish-speaking pilot presence there. Fascinating!

I’ve been very impressed by Air Astana, so maybe next time I return to Kazakhstan I’ll have to try SCAT. 😉

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Overall Air Astana is a nifty little airline.

Stay tuned, as I’ll have a more detailed trip report soon!

Comments

  1. Always surprised that you fiND stuff in English in countries that don’t speak english.

    In that respect USA is a dump. Idiots can’t even speak English well, much less a second language.

    Do you get surprised when you see English in a third world country or do you assume it to be your birthright to use English everywhere?

  2. You should check out SCAT airlines while you’re there. You can get a round trip business class ticket from Almaty to Aktau (approx 3 hour flight) for about $130.

  3. @Credit – I’ve traveled all over the world and in most countries I’ll see stuff in the local language and USUALLY something in English (with few exceptions). It’s just the default language that you’ll find people speaking. I lived in the Middle East for a number of years in the UAE. it was by far the most multicultural place I’ve lived, with colleagues and friends literally from everywhere. Nobody spoke Arabic – English was the language that bound all the disparate people, and it was the official business language of the company I worked for (although there were translations into Arabic as well).

  4. Jason, I was just taking a dig at lucky when it writes about the worst lounge that happened to be in a third world country.

    I don’t see menu cards in Spanish, and french on the US Airlines even though there are so many foreign tourists here.

    My point is its easy to find faults if you go looking for them 😉

    Thanks for staying civil.

  5. @Credit – haha, your comment resonates with my feelings although in a less aggressive and vulgar way. This is especially true for vehicles manufactured by US OEMS, where all of the buttons have English writing on them as if the entire world speaks English. In contrast, OEMs from other countries provide symbols since they are universally recognizable.

  6. But English is the dominant language in the world. Whether you like that or not, it’s just how things are for now.

  7. What type of champagne was served? The food looks good and, frankly, impressive. Delta should be ashamed of what it serves on a six-hour East Coast to West Coast (non-New York J.F.K. to Los Angeles or San Francisco) in domestic first-class.

    I’m also impressed by the menu, as the English is perfect minus some capitalization errors. I’ve seen plenty of grammatical errors on U.S. airline menus, to say nothing of other A-list foreign airlines.

  8. SCAT is on the black list of European Union. Good luck. For flying a lot in Eastern Europe and Central asia… i avoid at all cost those airlines. In Kazakstan it’s not complicated : ALL the airlines (and they have a lot) are banned / black listed in European Union except Air Astana. In Kyrgyzstan : ALL the airlines are blacklisted. And other countries in the area (even the flagship), has really scary airlines.

    For Business class Air Astana is the only airline proposing such service (some other does, but they are real jokes). An other interesting airlines in the area respecting standards is Air Manas (ex Pegasus asia – they still use the same reservation system). You could try it and to do a stop at Hyatt Regency Bishkek (very good one, and so far the best hotel in the city). PS: Bishkek is really different than Astana or Almaty, it’s a kind of far west there 😉

    If you want to live wild : Zhetysu and their only route with their one an only aircraft (YAK 40), but they are tons of options in the area for scary flights.

    Air Astana is the only airline you can trust in Central Asia… and agree with you, for very competitive price they deliver a very good hard and soft product.

    What you have mention about service is very cultural, people are neither friendly neither cold, but if you ask something you get it promptly. Pro-active and friendly service is not commun in this part of the world… and customers are not open to this anyway.

  9. Yes! Please review SCAT! Yes, on my flight, the captain was from venezuela. Also I was told by a friend that most Kazakhs do not choose their seats in advance, and get their seats the day of. I noticed this when I booked, the flight was completely empty basically but on both of my flights, they were full.

  10. @SamanthaA I’d just like to point out that US car makers can put the controls in English because the US/Canada market is big enough to support dedicated production runs of parts with English markings. Same for Spanish-speaking markets. They have factories in other parts of the world that build for those markets with either local languages or the supposedly universal symbols. (I say “supposedly” because half of them aren’t exactly intuitive, especially on VW Group products.)

  11. @ Credit By all the relevant metrics Kazakhstan is considered a second world Country, as a few minutes’ searching online would have revealed.

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